NYC big winner in Big Apple World Series

NEW YORK -- The roar coming from Yankee and Shea stadiums is music to the ears of the Big Apple's business and tourism community.

World Series logo

With baseball's World Series between the New York Yankees and the New York Mets in full swing, the city is projecting that the long-awaited "Subway Series" matchup will generate an additional $246 million in spending, $15 million of it tax money, assuming the series goes the full seven games.

You could say that the only sound louder than the cries of "Yankees!" and "Let's Go Mets!" is the "Cha-ching!" of cash registers.

"The eyes of the world are on New York," said Cristyne Lategano-Nicholas, president of NYC and Co., the city's convention and visitors bureau. "The impact will be amazing in terms of economic activity and spending, increased tourism and worldwide exposure."

The series isn't expected to generate a lot of extra business for the city's hotel industry because the fan base will be predominantly local, but there's no harm done -- the city's hotels are already full.

"The mayor's going to scream at me [for saying this], but the series will probably have a minimal impact on hotel business," said John Fox, senior vice president of PKF Consulting, a lodging research firm. "Hotels are pretty much sold out anyway, and there are also not a lot of out-of-town visitors."

Fox, who described himself as a lifelong Yankees fan, said that there would still, of course, be a positive economic impact on city businesses, especially restaurants and bars.

Kay Koot, general manager of the Novotel New York on West 52nd Street, agreed that local hotels are "bursting at the seams." The Novotel New York, for example, is fully booked through mid-December, she reported.

"As far as our hotel is concerned, I think a lot of the guests will hang out at the bar to watch the games on TV."

As for the rest of the city, "The bar and restaurant business will pick up across the board if they have TV screens, and the larger the screens, the rowdier the business," Koot said.

"Under these circumstances, the series affects the entire city. Even if you're not a baseball fan, chances are you will sit and watch," she said.

Even without the excitement of the Subway Series, the crush for hotel rooms in Manhattan has never been higher, and neither have hotel prices, according to a recent study by PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Daily room rates and occupancies rose 8% in the first six months of this year compared with 1999, the study shows. Midyear occupancy stood at 89.2%, up from 82.9% in 1999, and the average daily cost of a room was $215.55, up from $200.23 a year ago.

Agents choose sides in Subway Series mania

When it comes to baseball, travel agents are like anyone else, and this year's World Series, aka the Subway Series, has resulted in more than the usual level of noise in New York's agencies.

ASTA president Richard Copland, a longtime Yankees fan and owner of Eltee Travel in the Bronx, said the Subway Series is "one of the best things to happen to New York since Prohibition."

"It's a wonderful time to be a New Yorker."

Copland predicted that the series will be a boon for some New York agencies, particularly those with inbound travel.

"For a 10-day period there won't be a room in the town," said Copland. "I'm thinking about renting out a room in my house. If anybody wants one, give me a call."

Copland, who witnessed Don Larsen pitch a perfect game for the Yankees in the 1956 World Series, said he favors the Yankees to win in what could be a long series.

"The Mets will win in six," said Alan Kessler, president of R&R Travel and Tours in Flushing, N.Y., which is in the same section of Queens as the Mets' ballpark, Shea Stadium.

Kessler has been a Mets' fan for a long time. He followed the 1969 World Series -- the year the Amazin' Mets shocked the mighty Baltimore Orioles in five games -- while in school in Israel.

Loyalties don't run so deep with Emilio Vozzolo, president and owner of Limelight Associates in Corona, also near Shea. When asked what team he supported, he said, "I'm a New York fan."

He didn't think the series would boost his sales. But what if agents could earn commissions on subway tokens? "I wish," he said.

Jorge Sidron, Grant Flowers and Tara Rosa contributed to this story.

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